The Trade Union Congress has called on the government to take urgent action, after an analysis revealed that BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) degree graduates are “far more likely to be unemployed and low paid than white people”.
TUC analysis of official labour force statistics found that the unemployment rate among BAME degree graduates is a shocking 5.9%, compared to just 2.3% for white people with degrees.
The worrying differences are mirrored across all education levels and experience, suggesting the BAME community face greater barriers to employment than their white peers – including possible discrimination.
BAME workers with diplomas and high level vocational qualifications are 2.3 times more likely to be unemployed, with an unemployment rate of 6.8% compared to 3.0%, while those with an A-level equivalent qualification were 3.1 times more likely to be out of work.
Those with GCSE’s and entry-level skills were also less likely to be in work than white people, with multiples of 2.4 and 2.1 respectively. Even those with no qualifications were 1.4 times more likely to be jobless.
Overall, the unemployment rate among all working age BAME people is 9.5%, compared to 4.7% for white people.
TUC are calling on the government to develop a coherent race equality strategy and take urgent action to improve companies’ race equality practices, which could include asking the Equality and Human Rights Commission to undertake reviews of different employment sectors to improve BAME recruitment.
Employers should be encouraged to closely monitor recruitment process to protect against potential discrimination, say TUC, whilst also being required to publish annual staff ethnicity reports.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:: “The harsh reality is that even now black and Asian people, regardless of their qualifications and experience, are far more likely to be unemployed and lower paid than white people.
“Whether they have PhDs or GCSEs, BAME workers have a much tougher time in the jobs market.
“Not only is this wrong, but it is a huge waste of talent. Companies that only recruit from a narrow base are missing out on the wide range of experiences on offer from Britain’s many different communities.
“The government’s taskforce on racism must make it harder for discriminating employers to get away with their prejudices, and also ensure that far more is done to improve access to the best courses and institutions for BAME young people.”